Following an unparalleled 35-year run, the New York production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera,” Broadway’s longest-running show, will end in early 2023, producers confirmed Friday.
The show’s final performance will be held on Feb. 18, 2023, producers Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group said in a news release.
“As a British producer who has been lucky enough to have been producing in New York for over 40 consecutive years, it has been an unparalleled honour to have presented the longest-running musical in Broadway’s history, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘The Phantom of the Opera,'” Mackintosh said in a statement. “That this legendary show has thrilled New York for nearly 35 phenomenal years is quite astounding to me.”
Since it opened at the Majestic Theatre on Jan. 26, 1988, Broadway’s “Phantom” has had over 13,500 performances to 19.5 million people and grossed $1.3 billion, according to producers. It has won seven Tony Awards, including best musical. Producers said the show has been Broadway’s largest generator of jobs in Broadway and U.S. theatrical history, employing approximately 6,500 people during its run.
Worldwide, it has also been performed in front of an estimated 145 million people in 41 countries, and in 17 languages, producers said.
Though the Broadway iteration will be closing its doors, the show will still continue in other locations.
The novel “The Phantom of the Opera,” written by French writer Gaston Laroux, was published in 1909. The character was first brought to the big screen in a 1925 silent film.
On its 25th anniversary on Broadway, Webber, the show’s composer,reading Laroux’s novel.
“I remember finding the book in New York and reading it one afternoon and thinking, ‘It’s not the same as I remember it,'” Webber told CBS News in 2013. “It’s not a sort of funny thing, with somebody coming out and saying, ‘Boo’ from behind a chandelier. It’s actually about a romance.”
When the show first opened in New York in 1988, it had already been a hit for two years in London. Still, not all the critics took to it kindly. One reviewer in the New York Times called it, “psychologically lightweight.”
It has been a costly musical to sustain, with elaborate sets and costumes as well as a large cast and orchestra. Box office grosses have fluctuated since the show reopened after the pandemic — going as high as over $1 million a week but also dropping to around $850,000. Last week, it hit $867,997 — and producers may have seen the writing on the wall.
“Phantom” tells the story of a deformed composer who haunts the Paris Opera House and falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s lavish songs include “Masquerade,” ″Angel of Music,” ″All I Ask of You” and “The Music of the Night.”
The closing of “Phantom” would mean the longest still-running show crown would go to “Chicago,” which started in 1996. “The Lion King” is next, having begun performances in 1997.